"AS I SEE
Volume 4, Number 8, August 2001
["As I See It" is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor's perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address.
All articles are by the editor (unless otherwise noted) and are copyrighted but may be reproduced for distribution, provided the following conditions are met: 1. articles must be reproduced in unedited, unabridged form; 2. the writer must be properly credited; and, 3. such reproduction must be for free distribution only. Permission to distribute in any other form must be secured in writing beforehand. Permission for reproduction in Christian print periodicals will generally be given.]
FACING "THE MUSIC"
Maybe I'm a bit 'out of touch,' but
I was frankly surprised at the heavy reader response to "Music in the
Church" (AISI 4:7), which generated at least quadruple the response of any
previous article I've written and published (and some of those were what I would
deem "controversial"). At least now I know where a really a sensitive
"hot button" is in case I want to "stir up the animals" (as
H. L. Mencken would phrase it) in the future!
Most of the letters were highly favorable, though a few were moderately critical. Among those favorable was one which included a quote from "Miss Manners" on the subject of applauding in church. I insert it here because it is if interest (and, naturally, agrees with my point of view!)-
"Judith Martin, known in the secular world and through her column as Miss Manners, answers a question about applause in church in Miss Manners Rescues Civilization. 'Having forgotten church manners, people are substituting those that would be proper for a performance. . . . Hard as it may be to imagine, musicians in church are supposed to play or sing for the glory of God, not the pleasure of the congregation (which people interestingly call the audience). That is why there should be no applause in church. Not even for small children, who particularly need to have the purpose of their performance explained to them.' In response to the protest that the Bible authorizes clapping (as in Psalm 47:1) she asks, 'Where is the Bible reference by which God commands applause to honor musicians...?' "
--- Doug Kutilek
RUCKMAN ON LUTHER AND I JOHN 5:7:
DOLT OR DECEIVER?
I have concluded, after long experience, that Peter S. Ruckman, Sr., the chief agitator and fomenter of the King-James-Only movement, is either a grossly inept and inaccurate writer, or one who though knowing that what he writes is not true, nevertheless willfully deceives his readers. Typical of this are his claims in an article regarding the controverted reading at I John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." Ruckman's undated article, "Does 1 John 5:7 belong in the Bible?" (downloaded from the website www.solascripture-tt.org ) makes certain claims that are patently and provably false. I wish to focus on just one of those false claims, and set the facts straight with full documentation of those facts.
Ruckman matter-of-factly claims "The AV of the English Reformation and Luther's Heilge Schrift of the German Reformation BOTH contain the Johannine comma." I will note in passing that it is at best misleading to call the AV ("Authorized Version" or King James Version) the Bible "of the English Reformation." It in fact had no part in the English Reformation, which took place in the 1530s to the 1550s (well before 1611, the KJV's publication date). The Bibles associated with that Reformation would have been the translations of Tyndale, Coverdale, and the Geneva Bible. The KJV may have been an indirect consequence of the English Reformation; but it certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with its cause or conduct (Ruckman's article here under examination--like literally everything else he has written on the Bible version controversy--has dozens of similarly inaccurate, misleading or erroneous assertions).
But returning to Ruckman's claim--Does Luther's translation of the Bible, Die Heilige Schrift, in fact contain this "Johannine comma," as I John 5:7 is sometimes known? Anyone who has taken the trouble to search out the facts in the case knows that the answer is an unambiguous, unequivocal NO!
As our first witness, we call a facsimile reprint of the final edition of Luther's Bible issued in his lifetime. The title page of Luther's final edition of his German Bible translation (1545) reads: Biblia: Das ist: Die gantze Heilige Schrifft / Deutsche / Auffs new zugericht [literally, "Bible: that is: the whole Holy Writing, German, newly revised." All spelling as in original]. On the reverse side of leaf number CCCLXXXIIII (that is, 384), we find the relevant section of I John chapter 5 (the verses are not numbered; this feature was not added to the New Testament until the 1550s by a Paris printer). In the latter part of what is now numbered as verse 6, we read (all spelling,capitalization and dividers as an original), "Und der Geist ists/ der da zeuget/ das Geist warheit ist. ("And the Spirit is he who testifies; the Spirit is truth.") This is followed immediately, with no gap, break or mark of any kind by what is now numbered as verse 8: Denn drey sind die da zeugen auff Erden/ Der Geist und das Wasser und das Blut/ und die drey sind beisamen. ("For three are those who testify on Earth: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are together.") In this, then, Luther's final word on the translation of the Bible into German, he most certainly did not include the "three heavenly witnesses" as Ruckman erroneously asserts. What about other earlier editions by Luther?
We call our second witness. I have before me a 1955 printing of Luther's version. Its title page carries the words "Die Bibel oder die ganze Heilige Schrift des Alten u. Neuen Testaments nach der deutschen Uebersetzung D. Martin Luthers" ["The Bible or the whole Holy Writing of the Old and New Testament according to the German translation of Dr. Martin Luther"]. This 1955 edition of Luther's Bible, like the 1545 edition, also omits all of the disputed verse, and adds a very interesting footnote on the passage: "Die in Frueheren Bibelausgaben V. 7 und 8 stehenden weiteren Worte: 'Drei sind, die da zeugen im Himmel: der Vater, das Wort und der Heilige Geist; und diese drei sind eins' finden sich weder in den Handschriften des griechischen Textes noch in Luthers eigener Uebersetzung. ["The additional words of verse 7 and 8 which occur in earlier Bible editions, viz. 'There are three who testify in Heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one' are found neither in the manuscripts of the Greek text nor in Luther's own translation."]. A second independent witness, therefore, declares Ruckman to be in manifest error.
(Lest some quibble, we will note that the statement asserting that the passage in question is not found "in the manuscripts of the Greek text" is not quite precisely correct; a precise statement would be that the passage is absent from over 400 Greek manuscripts of I John including all those before the 12th century, and though found in the text of four manuscripts--all of which are late medieval in date--none of these four agrees precisely with the text as found in the printed Greek texts of Erasmus et al. nor do any two of the four agree precisely among themselves (they all show clear evidence of having been translated from Latin into Greek). Furthermore, the reading is found as an addition in the margin of but four manuscripts, yet in the four manuscripts which have the text written in the margin, this marginal writing is of such a late date that in some and likely all cases, the words were unquestionably merely copied from some printed Greek text and therefore have no independent authority.)
The complete absence of I John 5:7 from any of Luther's various editions and revisions of his Bible translation is confirmed by additional witnesses. First, Karl Braune in Lange's commentary, informs us regarding the disputed words: "Luther never translated these words, but commented upon them in his second commentary on this Epistle, although he had pronounced them spurious in his first commentary. They are omitted in all German Wittenberg Bibles from 1522-1545; they are first inserted in Lehmann's Quarto Wittenberg edition of 1596, although they are still wanting in later editions and in the Quarto edition of 1620. They appear first in the Zuerich edition of 1529; the next edition of 1531 has this passage in smaller type [Luther had no part in the making of either of these latter two--ed.], the later editions insert it in brackets, which were not abandoned until 1597. The Basle edition of 1552 gives it already without brackets. Of the Frankfurt editions, the Quarto of 1582 was the first in which this passage is inserted, although it is omitted in the Octavo edition of the same year. It was of no avail that Luther considered these words as a clumsy addition directed against the Arians which was wanting in the Greek Bibles...." (Karl Braune, "The General Epistles of John," in Lange's Commentary, Zondervan edition of 1960, p. 156). According to Braune, then, Luther never included the disputed words in any Bible translation made by him, and expressly stated that he considered the words a clumsy insertion fabricated to refute the Arians. That they were inserted into some German language Bibles made independent of Luther is beside the point here. Luther himself never had them in his Bible.
An examination of Luther's commentary on I John confirms the accuracy of Braune's remarks: "7. For there are three that bear witness in heaven. The Greek books do not have these words, but this verse seems to have been inserted by the Catholics because of the Arians, yet not aptly; for wherever John speaks about witnesses, he speaks about those on earth, not in heaven." (see Luther's Works, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, vol. 30, Catholic Epistles, Concordia edition of 1967, p. 316). Luther expressly calls the "Johannine Comma" a clumsily made insertion and alteration of the original text. That he would not insert into his text what he believed was spurious is merely consistent behaviour.
Adam Clarke (1762-1832) in his commentary on I John has a lengthy treatment of the evidence regarding I John 5:7 which, though now somewhat incomplete (because written in 1832), nevertheless is still worth careful attention by the reader who wishes to be accurately informed. In that treatment, Clarke states: "It is wanting in the German translation of LUTHER, and in all the editions of it published during his lifetime." (Clarke's Commentary, undated Abingdon edition, vol. VI, p. 932; Clarke's discussion of the passage is found on pp. 923-924; 927-933). Witness number four.
Thomas Hartwell Horne (1780-1862) in his very extensive and marvelously detailed presentation of the evidence regarding I John 5:7 (which anyone interested in the controversy will ignore at his own peril) states first "The Protestant Reformers either rejected 1 John v. 7, or at least marked it as doubtful," then details the German Bible situtation:
"Thus it is wanting in the German translation of the illustrious reformer, Dr. Martin Luther, and in all the editions of it published during his lifetime. The last edition printed under Luther's superintendence (and which was not quite finished till after his death) was that of 1546, in the preface to which he requests that no person will make any alterations in it. But this great and good man had not been dead thirty years, when the passage was interpolated in his German translation. The first edition in which this act of injustice took place, and in which Luther's text at least was corrupted, is that which was printed at Frankfort in 1574. But in the edition of 1583, printed in the same place, and also in several still later Frankfort editions, the passage was again omitted. The oldest Wittenberg edition, which received it, was that of 1596; and in the Wittenberg edition of 1599 it is likewise contained, but is printed in Roman characters. In 1596 it was inserted also in the Low German Bible, printed in that year at Hamburg. In the seventeenth century, if we except the Wittenberg edition of 1607, which remained true to Luther's text, the insertion was general; and since that time it is found in every edition of his German translation of the Scriptures. (An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Baker 1970 reprint of 8th, 1838 edtion, vol. IV, p. 457; for his treatment of I John 5:7, see pp. 448-471). Witness number five.
In volume 7 of his History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff has an excellent extended analysis of Luther's Bible translation (pp. 340-368). In that discussion, he states: "Luther did not slavishly follow the Greek of Erasmus, and in many places conformed to the Latin Vulgate, which is based on an older text. He also omitted, even in his last edition, the famous interpolation of the heavenly witnesses in 1 John 5:7, which Erasmus inserted in his third edition (1522) against his better judgment" (p. 357). He then adds in a footnote: "It [i.e., 1 John 5:7] first appeared in the Frankfort edition of Luther's Bible, 1574. The revised Luther-Bible of 1883 strangely retains the passage, but in small type and in brackets, with the note that it was wanting in Luther's editions." Witness number six.
The evidence from the facsimile reprint of Luther's 1545 edition, the 1955 edition footnote, and the commentators and scholars Braune, Clarke, Horne and Schaff is clear and all on one side: die Heilige Schrift of the German Reformation, that is, the various editions of Luther's German Bible translation published under his supervision and during his lifetime never included the disputed words of I John 5:7, Ruckman's assertion to the contrary notwithstanding.
What therefore are we to conclude about Mr. Ruckman's dogmatic assertion that Luther's German Bible translation did in fact contain I John 5:7? We can only conclude that his assertion is wholly erroneous and completely false. But we must also ask why did he make such a bold yet blundering affirmation? There are two possible answers. The first is that he simply wrote out of blissful ignorance of the facts, not knowing the truth and not caring to expend the effort necessary to ascertain the truth. (The truth was not that hard to unearth; I found the above sources in just a couple of hours in a single day). If this is the case--that he wrote from abject ignorance--then he is a buffoon, a clown, a poseur masquerading as an authority on a subject in which only his ignorance is profound. I am indeed persuaded that carelessness and laziness as a student and researcher, and an amazing indifference to truth are the primary causes of Ruckman's remarkable and repeated gross blunders.
It must be stated that gross errors arising from massive but bold ignorance characterize Ruckman's works. He long asserted that the KJV was not copyrighted, which I exposed as false in "The KJV is a copyrighted translation," in Baptist Biblical Heritage, vol. IV, no. 3, October 1993, pp. 5-8. I exposed his false and ignorant claim that the Vaticanus manuscript has never been examined by any Protestant scholar in "Ruckmanism--a Refuge of Lies," in Baptist Biblical Heritage, vol. IV, no. 4, January, 1994, pp. 5-6. I have addressed many of his other errors along the way, and could generate an endless stream of articles just correcting his Mongolian horde of errors. As long ago as 1967, Zane Hodges reviewed Ruckman's literary first-born (unfortunately not "still-born") The Bible Babel, in Bibliotheca Sacra and wrote: "So distorted indeed is so much of the material presented that the reader would be well-advised to trust nothing which he cannot verify." Precious few of Ruckman's lemming-like followers have heeded this word of caution, or indeed have ever troubled themselves to independently verify Ruckman's claims.
If on the other hand, Ruckman knew full well that Luther did not include the "three heavenly witnesses" in his German Bible, yet asserts that Luther did so, then his motives must be regarded as the most deplorable--that of willfully deceiving and misleading those who look to him (for whatever unfortunate reason) as an expert. His ends are then better served by falsehood that facts. If this indeed was Ruckman's design--to deceive the gullible into believing what he knew was patently false--then he is a huckster, a charlatan, a con man of the most deplorable sort.
We are left then on the horns of a not very perplexing dilemma: is Ruckman an ignorant blind leader of the blind, or is he a false prophet who has put on a hairy garment to deceive? Perhaps he is in large measure both. "By their fruits you shall know them." Indeed. But whichever he is, he is not credible, and those whose look to him for instruction will descend from darkness into greater darkness, not knowing the truth and not even knowing that they do not know the truth, because the darkness has blinded their eyes. Many are quick to distance themselves from Ruckman because of his usually offensive manner, yet they embrace his matter as reliable. I would challenge such men to return to the beginning, and ask themselves: "What in particular about what I believe regarding the KJV is derived from Ruckman directly or indirectly? Have I been unwittingly led astray? Have I naively accepted what I was told, without challenge, and without taking the trouble to determine whether I had been told the truth?"
Check the facts for yourself. Unless you prefer to continue to be deceived.
BILLY SUNDAY AND THE REDEMPTION OF URBAN AMERICA by Lyle W. Dorsett.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991. 212 pp., paper back. $15.00
I have a personal spiritual debt to the ministry of Billy Sunday, the baseball player-turned-evangelist (1862-1935). First, my maternal grandfather, Ernest R. Johnston, walked "the sawdust trail" during Billy Sunday's crusade in Wichita, Kansas in 1911 (Grandma wouldn't have married him if he hadn't been converted, which would have directly impacted my chances of being born a generation later!). Grandpa's Christian influence in part resulted in my mother's conversion as a grade schooler, and her faithfulness in taking me and my siblings to church had a major part in bringing about my conversion as a teen-ager.
Then, the Bible college professor who had the greatest impact on my thinking, Dr. Noel Smith, while not converted through Sunday's ministry, was evertheless restored to his walk with the Lord after years in sin during Sunday's Chattanooga crusade of 1919. Without Sunday's influence on Smith, Smith's impact on me would not have been. Yes, I owe a great spiritual debt to Billy Sunday.
Billy Sunday has been the subject of a handful of biographies, some so laudatory as to be almost embarrassing, while at least one has gone to the opposite hyper-critical extreme, finding fault with almost everything. Dorsett's volume takes a more accurate middle ground, that of a writer who has warm admiration and sympathy for Sunday, but who is not blind to Sunday's faults and failings.
Sunday was the son of a Civil War veteran who died during the war and never saw his son. As a youth, Billy and his brother were bounced around several state institutions for orphans. He completed two years of high school (most teen-agers in that era had no education beyond the eight grade, if that much), and was not the ignorant country rube of popular myth. His skills as a small town ball player came to the notice of a professional team owner in Chicago, and Sunday was given a contract. After some years playing in Chicago, Billy recognized his life as empty and purposeless, and entered the Pacific Garden Mission, where he heard the same Gospel he had been taught as a youth, and was saved.
As in our day, so in that, a "celebrity" conversion brought many offers from various groups to give a testimony. Sunday worked for a time with the YMCA, then became assistant to evangelist Wilbur Chapman, ultimately setting out on his own as a small town evangelist in the Midwest when Chapman took a pastorate. Sunday labored in small towns for a full decade.
Sunday had a plain-spoken, highly-dramatized, energetic, even athletic preaching style which the high-cultured blue bloods despised but which the masses loved, and they came in droves. In the decade of the 1910s, his fame and popularity reached its peak, with massive large-city crusades in New York, Chicago, Detroit and other major metropolises. With the success came problems--a very large income (a reported $1 million in that decade, vastly above the national average), led the Sunday's into a rather extravagant, high-consumption lifestyle, far above the masses they were trying to reach. This led to questions of ethics and propriety, and charges of greed. Certain other unresolved problems concerning the handling of meetings and staff led song leader Homer Rodeheaver to resign in 1927 after almost 20 years with Sunday. Rodey wrote a very frank letter of explanation, which is rather revealing of internal troubles.
There were also serious spiritual problems with the Sundays' three sons (a daughter remained a faithful believer). With Billy away much of the time, and then with Nell joining him for his crusades, the children were largely raised by surrogates. The sons as adults were guilty of drunkenness, immorality, dishonesty--things Billy vigorously preached against--and one ultimately committed suicide. These things naturally tarnished Billy's reputation and provided fodder for a scandal-hungry press.
Sunday was one of the chief forces that led to the Volstead Act which initiated nationwide prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol (the 18th Amendment). For this, Sunday was savagely attacked and widely hated (the great Presbyterian scholar, J. Gresham Machen, who was unlike Sunday in almost every respect, nevertheless said, "I like Billy Sunday because of who his enemies are"). His popularity sagged in the 1920s, and he reverted to holding meetings in small to medium-sized cities. All told, Sunday reportedly preached in person to 100 million people, with some 1 million responding to his invitations. This is far above that of any other evangelist in history.
Dorsett includes in the biography two of Sunday's sermons, Heaven, and Get on the Water Wagon, the latter his famous attack on the liquor industry. Both are very much worth reading. (In contrast to these, when I was assistant to the editor of The Biblical Evangelist back in the mid-1980s, I was assigned the editing for publication of a couple dozen contemporary newspaper transcripts of Sunday's crusade sermons in Detroit in 1916. Surely they must have lost something in going from the living evangelist to the dead paper and ink, for I have never endured such tedium at any other task in my life. Some of the sermons as reported seemed highly offensive to me because of what appeared to be unnecessarily harsh brow-beating of the audience by Sunday. Perhaps 4 or 5 of those edited sermons were eventually published in TBE).
With his limitations and human frailities, Billy Sunday was mightily used by God to bring hundreds of thousands to Christ, and to push back America's "day of reckoning" with God. Where he preached, saloons and brothels often closed, and jails went begging for inmates. Lives were literally and permanently transformed for the good. These are manifestly not the consequences of Billy Graham crusades today, nor is anyone else doing the great and necessary work that Sunday did. "It was a different time," some will say, but human nature has not changed, nor has the human need for conversion, forgiveness and peace with God. Who will, under God, seek to fill Sunday's long-empty shoes?
BIBLE REVISION, ed. By Philip Schaff. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union,
1979. 192 pp.
In the years just before and just after the appearance of the English Revised Version (New Testament, 1881; Old Testament, 1885), numerous books were issued by proponents of the revision of the King James Version to justify the undertaking of such revision, or to defend the revision made. Among notable titles on this theme were J. B. Lightfoot, On A Fresh Revision Of The English New Testament (London: MacMillan and Co, 1871); Alex. Roberts, Companion to the Revised Version of the English New Testament (London: Cassell, Petter Galpin & Co.); and, Talbot W. Chambers, A Companion to the Revised Old Testament (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1885)--this last has a list of all the OT translators, British and American, and some account of their scholarly achievements and qualifications. If these volumes were given an open and honest reading by opponents of any Bible translation revision of any sort, they would immediately see the error of their way.
I stumbled across another book of this genre, the book herein reviewed, in the library stacks at Wichita State University, being previously unaware of its very existence. It is different from other books of this type in that it is a compilation of essays on various aspects of the revision written by members of the American revision committee. The 19 separate chapters include "The Hebrew Text of the Old Testament" by Howard Osgood, a Baptist, and "Inaccuracies of the Authorized Version in Respect of Grammar and Exegesis" by A. C. Kendrick, another Baptist scholar. There are also essays by William Henry Green, the great Princeton Old Testament scholar; Joseph Henry Thayer, the Greek lexicographer; James Strong, of concordance and cyclopedia fame; along with others of note. Schaff introduces the volume with an accounting of the revision translators and the principles followed in the making of their revision.
There are occasional factually errors or misstatements here and there, or incomplete information, but on the whole, this is a superb little book on the necessity of revising the KJV if the ordinary English reader is to have as direct access to the inspired oracles of God as honest scholarship can provide. --- Some quotes from Bible Revision, edited by Philip Schaff--
"An ancient translation, preserved on account of the veneration which is felt towards it, may even do harm to religion by obscuring thoughts which would otherwise be clear." (Theo. D. Woolsey, p. 45)
"If the Bible is intended for the less educated of the Christian Church it needs, in many places, to be translated out of the older into the later English." (G. Emlen Hare, p. 49)
"Within the two hundred and sixty-eight years which have elapsed since the publication of the Current Version, Biblical learning has advanced with a progress comparable to that which has obtained in other departments of learning." (ibid.)
"If, then, it is the imperative duty of the Church to give the heavenly oracles to men, each in his own language, it is equally her duty to give them to men in a pure and unadulterated form. The millions in both hemispheres who speak the English tongue are entitled to receive the Bible in a form which represents the inspired original with the utmost ccuracy it is possible to attain. This has always been recognized in the history of our English version thus far, which, as at present authorized, is the result of several successive revisions, each being an advance upon its predecessor." (William Henry Green, p. 60)
"When the question is raised whether the time has now arrived for a fresh revision of the English Bible, one important consideration affecting the answer to be given is to be found in the immense strides taken in Biblical scholarship since the reign of King James." (Ibid., pp. 60-1)
"We assume that the English translation of the Bible should be as faithful as possible to the inspired original, so that the unlearned reader may be as nearly as possible in the place of the learned one. There are some who practically deny this self-evident proposition. They would have us retain time-hallowed errors in our version; they appeal to popular prejudice." (Joseph Packard, p. 80)
"But it may be safely said that no Christian doctrine or duty rests on those portions of the text which are affected by differences in the manuscripts; still less is anything essential in Christianity touched by the various readings. They do, to be sure, affect the bearing of a few passages on the doctrine of the Trinity; but the truth or falsity of the doctrine by no means depends upon the reading of those passages." (Ezra Abbott, p. 92)
"[T]he most important reason of all [for a revision of our version of the Scriptures] arises from the progress which, since 1611, has been made in grammatical and exegetical science, as applied to the Scriptures. That such progress should be made would be but to bring Biblical science into accordance with all the other developments of the last two centuries. In every field of intellectual action during that period, the progress of the human mind has been rapid, and its achievements unprecedentedly great. It would be strange, indeed, if in this highest of all departments of knowledge it should have failed of corresponding advancement. And it has not. In all the fields of sacred learning the most eminent abilities and the most conscientious industry have been diligently employed, and in none, perhaps, more than in the sphere of the language and interpretation of the New Testament." (A. C. Kendrick, p. 99)
GIVE THE WINDS A MIGHTY VOICE by Daniel P. Fuller. Waco, Tex.:
Word, 1972. 247 pp, hardback.
The name of Charles E. Fuller (1888-1968) is historically bound up with two things: "The Old Fashioned Revival Hour" radio broadcast, and Fuller Theological Seminary, the former a boon to the cause of Biblical Christianity, the latter truly a bane.
Charles Fuller was a native Southern Californian. His father was a man of considerable wealth, gained chiefly through the rapidly expanding Southern California citrus industry. Charles himself also prospered in the citrus business, and also in land development in the 1910s and 20s. Charles' father was a committed Christian and devoted his wealth to the cause of missions, providing substantial support at one time for 56 missionaries. He even made two round-the world trips to visit missionaries on the field.
Charles fell under this influence and though a professing Christian (whose faith--what there was of it--had been seriously undermined by the teaching of evolution when he was in college), had no real saving faith until he heard the wrestler-and-boxer-turned-evangelist Paul Rader at the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles in 1916. Up to this time, Fuller had been a church member, Sunday school superintendent and even an elder in the church. After his conversion, he taught an ever-expanding Sunday school class, enrolled as a student at Biola, and after being, more or less forced out of the Presbyterian church because of his evangelistic activities, founded and pastured for eight years Calvary Church in Placentia, California (1925-1933). When the Presbyterians refused to ordain him, Fuller sought and received ordination at the hands of a group of Southern California Baptist pastors associated with the Baptist Bible Union, the strongly fundamentalist and separatist group led by J. Frank Norris, W. B. Riley and T. T. Shields. Calvary Church was founded upon the fundamentals of the faith and was focused on missions and evangelism (of the church's first year income of $6,300, fully $3,500 was given to missions! How many churches match those percentages today?)
Fuller became chairman of the board of Biola at the time that school went through a great upheavel due to the heterodoxy of one the professors; the professor was purged, several other professors resigned in protest, as did some board members, but the school was saved for orthodoxy (the action at Biola, and its consequences for good stands in marked contrast to what happened at Fuller Seminary in the early 1960s, when the conservatives left in protest of the toleration of apostasy among the faculty).
Even from youth, Charles had had an interest in electrical means of communication (telephone and telegraph). As a preacher, he early on saw the value of radio as a means of communicating the Gospel. He first employed radio for evangelism in 1925, when this medium was just 5 years old. It was in fact a desire to devote himself fully to a radio ministry that led to his resignation as pastor.
From 1933 until his death, Fuller was a full-time radio preacher. Over those years, there were many changes in stations--sometimes on networks, sometimes on independent stations, many changes in format--sometimes live, and sometimes via recording, and several changes of the name of the programs (most of the time there was more than one broadcast per week). At his peak in the 1940s, Fuller was on the Mutual network plus numerous independent stations (almost 500 in all), had by far the most listened to radio program of any kind in America, paid over $1.5 million for radio time annually, and had letters reporting on average 400 conversions a week, out of a listening audience of a reported 20 million. When speaking at a conference of some 4,000 Southern Baptist preachers, Fuller asked how many had Fuller converts in their congregations. Two-thirds of the pastors raised their hands. Via foreign stations, Fuller was heard all over Europe (especially in The U. K.) and almost world-wide on shortwave.
It is worth noting that the national networks were vigorously opposed to fundamentalist radio preachers. The CBS and NBC networks had a policy of refusing to sell time to religious broadcasts, though they did give away time to selected religious leaders, namely Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen and rank modernist Harry Emerson Fosdick. These freebie broadcasts never had much of an audience, simply because they had no message that satisfied the heart and soul of sinners needing peace with God.
In contrast to the great good Fuller's radio preaching accomplished, the legacy of Fuller Seminary is largely a great negative. As far back as 1939, Fuller felt impressed of God to start a preacher and evangelist training school. Plans were repeatedly altered and delayed--should it be a college or a seminary? When should it begin, and who should lead it? Ultimately, a seminary was agreed upon, and the year of inception was 1947, in Pasadena, California. There was an impressive faculty of four and nearly forty students that first semester.
But the seeds of Fuller Seminary's theological destruction were planted from the beginning. At that time, there was a great debate among conservative American Christians over the proper approach to denominational apostasy. The fundamentalists, appealing to the plain teaching of Scripture, insisted that the only proper approach for an individual who found himself in a church doctrinally apostate, or for a conservative church in apostate-controlled or apostate-tolerant denomination was immediate withdrawal as a testimony against error.
The National Association of Evangelicals, in contrast, insisted that conservatives should stay in the modernist-infected organizations, continue to participate in and support these churches and denominations, engage in dialogue with the apostates, and try to turn the tide from within. This is the philosophy of neo-evangelicalism. The founder and formulator of this philosophy, indeed the man who coined the term "neo-evangelical" was Pastor Harold Okenga (pronounced 'AH-ken-gay'), pastor of the large and influential Park Street Church in Boston. Okenga had been chosen by Fuller to be the first president of Fuller Seminary.
Okenga set the course for the school in his inaugural address in 1947: "We do not believe and we repudiate the 'come-outism' movement. We want our men to be so trained that when they come from a denomination, whatever that denomination is, they will go back into their denomination. . . ." (p. 215). Among the first 900 graduates of Fuller, the author relates that 103 were from the United Presbyterian Church--USA, 77 were from the American Baptist Convention, 68 were from the Conservative Baptist Association, 29 were Baptist General Conference, 16 were United Church of Christ, etc. All of those listed were then and are now heavily corrupted by apostasy and modernism. This attitude of toleration of apostasy in the midst, and willingness to continue to associate yourself as a co-laborer with enemies of the Gospel led to the toleration of apostasy among the faculty of Fuller Seminary and its soon loss to the very apostasy it was established to oppose.
A second seed of destruction planted from the beginning was an obsession with "intellectual respectability" (virtually Okenga's exact words) that is, a strong desire to impress apostate scholars with the quality of conservative scholarship. "Hey, we're smart guys, too!" The fact is, no matter how intelligent and academically accomplished conservative scholars are (and I am fully in favor of the highest standards of scholarship among Christian leaders), the apostates "ain't gonna give us no respect." The problem is not an intellectual one but a spiritual one. We cannot and will not convince committed apostates by our degrees and scholarly treatises; the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (or Carnell!). We must have the power of God upon our efforts, as did the meagerly-educated D. L. Moody, Sam Jones, Gipsy Smith, Billy Sunday and others of their stripe, or our efforts are worth nothing. Of course, high intellect and high spiritual power are not mutually exclusive (all the great leaders of the Reformation, for example, were highly-trained scholars). And they were all "come-outers."
The seminary stirred up controversy almost from the beginning. The Presbytery of Southern California refused to admit three Presbyterian faculty members into that body because of Charles Fuller's strong fundamentalist reputation (later, after the school had drifted from its moorings into the murky waters of unbelief, all Presbyterian faculty members were welcomed into that apostate Presbytery). A visiting Hungarian professor--invited to teach because of his academic credentials, was a known rejector of Biblical inerrancy. When the Revised Standard Version came out, Fuller faculty--unlike all fundamentalists and most evangelicals--refused to condemn it, though it systematically undermined OT messianic prophecies, especially Isaiah 7:14, and was tainted by the translators' theology (30 of 31 translators were modernists). Second president John Carnell's 1959 book onapologetics created another furor; Carnell died a suicide less than adecade later--a fact the author completely ignores.
By 1963, three of the four founding professors of Fuller felt compelled to leave as the school had drifted badly. Among those now outside the conservative camp was Charles Fuller's own son Daniel, now dean of the school. Inexplicably, Charles had allowed his son to be educated in part at apostate Princeton Seminary, with additional study under the father of neo-orthodoxy (apostasy by another name), Karl Barth, in Switzerland. I can only ask: what was he thinking? In the decades if the 1960s, Fuller Seminary added a school of missions and a school of psychology.
Charles Fuller died in 1968, leaving a legacy as God's means of bringing multiplied thousands to Christ through radio, and yet also having lent his name, prestige, leadership, resources and influence to the founding of a school that has abandoned and undermined every one of the fundamental doctrines that he preached for 45 years.
Naturally enough, in this volume, Daniel Fuller glosses over the doctrinal apostasy of Fuller Seminary, of which he was himself a significant part. The departure of all but one of the founding faculty as well as certain other conservative faculty members in 1962-1963 is passed over in a single phrase. If the reader wants the real inside story on the apostasy of Fuller Seminary, he must read the insider accounts of one of those original faculty members, Harold Lindsell, in his highly informative books The Battle for the Bible (Zondervan, 1976), pp. 106-121; and The Bible in the Balance (Zondervan, 1979), pp. 183-243. These volumes triggered massive shock ways in numerous American denominations when they were first issued. For a thorough account by a respected historian of Fuller's founding and subsequent apostasy, see Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism by George M. Marsden (Eerdmans, 1987).
In comparing this biography of Charles Fuller with that by Wilbur Smith, A Voice for God (reviewed in AISI, 2:6), this is in almost every way substantially better--better written, with the final 20 years of Fuller's life covered, less gushing with effusive praise and accolades, and with a closer, more personal look, though with the notable deficiencies mentioned previously.